Louise Lasser - Biography - IMDb
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Louise Lasser Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (6)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (2)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born on April 11, 1939, New York City born and bred Louise (Marie) Lasser was the daughter of Jewish author tax specialist Sol J. Lasser. Living a childhood of privilege and having a prestigious education, the eccentric comedy actress lightened things up considerably in her own household despite her mother Paula's mental instability. Tragic circumstances occurred when her mother, whom Louise saved once, committed suicide following the breakup of her marriage. Her father would also take his own life years later.

A political science major at Brandeis University, Louise first won notice singing in Greenwich Village dives, improvisational revues and on Broadway in the early 1960s. In 1962, Louise understudied Barbra Streisand as Miss Marmelstein in "I Can Get It for You Wholesale. Lasser was also the first woman to win a Clio Award for Best Actress in a 1967 commercial for Florida Orange Juice.

Arguably best known as the second Mrs. Woody Allen, Louise, known for her lethargic comedy presence, made her TV debut in a failed comedy pilot entitled The Laughmakers (1962), one of Allen's forays into the medium. She also made a brief, uncredited appearance as a masseuse in film What's New Pussycat (1965) and had a voiceover in What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966). Marrying Woody on February 2, 1966, Louise went on to co-star with the comic master, earning a comedy name for herself in several of his other inaugural farcical romps -- particularly Take the Money and Run (1969), Bananas (1971) and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972). On Broadway, she appeared in "Henry, Sweet Henry" (1967), "The Chinese and Dr. Fish" (1970) and as a replacement in the comedy "Thieves" (1974).

Following the end of her four-year marriage to Woody, Louise struck out on her own. On TV, she appeared to good advantage in guest episodes of "Love, American Style," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Bob Newhart Show," "McCloud" and "Medical Center." On film, she appeared in the dramedy Such Good Friends (1971) and the crime comedy thriller Slither (1973).

After appearing in the lightweight TV-movie Coffee, Tea or Me? (1973) with fresh-faced starring performances from Karen Valentine and John Davidson, and offering a kookier supporting perf as a police station receptionist opposite Alan Alda in the dark comedy murder mystery Isn't It Shocking? (1973), Louise hit major cult status as the enervated, beleaguered, pig-tailed, titular housewife/heroine of the bizarre Norman Lear nighttime soap satire Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976). It was here that Louise buffed up beautifully her deadpan neurotic comedy persona. The program's pilot was nominated for an Emmy and Louise herself for "Classification of Outstanding Program and Individual Achievement."

The syndicated show certainly had it's own soap opera-styled problems on the set. In July of 1976, she was asked to host a first season episode of "Saturday Night Live." It was said that Louise's erratic behavior was highly difficult to work with in sketches. That same year, she was also arrested after police discovered cocaine in her purse at a boutique store. She was ordered to six months of counseling. With the pressures of television mounting, the star decided to leave the show in 1977 (the series had her character suddenly leaving town and husband with no notice), and the series was re-titled "Forever Fernwood."

Following her "Mary Hartman" departure, Louise appeared on stage in productions of Marie and Bruce" (1980) followed by "A Couple of a White Chicks Sitting Around Talking." She also attempted another ensemble comedy series with the all-female show It's a Living (1980) as waitress Maggie but, once again, left the show after only one season. She also had a recurring neurotic role on the popular medical show St. Elsewhere (1982).

Elsewhere, Louise went on to co-star with the equally neurotic Charles Grodin in the offbeat romantic TV-movie comedy Just Me and You (1978). On film, she made a brief cameo in ex-husband Woody Allen's film dramedy Stardust Memories (1980), appeared as a hooker with a heart of gold in star/director/co-writer Marty Feldman's comedy In God We Trust (or Gimme That Prime Time Religion) (1980), and was a prime focus in the wacky Coen Brothers crime comedy Crimewave (1985). She headed the cast as the mother of good/evil twins in the slasher flick Blood Rage (1987), was featured in the Sally Field/Michael Caine romantic comedy Surrender (1987), and was fourth-billed in the teen drama Sing (1989). She finished off the decade in Cheech Marin's hippie comedy Rude Awakening (1989) as an aging drug customer(!)

The weird and wacky continued with an assortment of off-kiltered characters in independent films. She appeared in the bizarre sci-fi horror Frankenhooker (1990); played Robby Benson's mom in the comedy Modern Love (1990), also written and directed by Benson; and played Jeremy Piven's mom in another comedy Layin' Low (1996). She was also featured in the films Sudden Manhattan (1996), Happiness (1998) and Mystery Men (1999).

Into the millennium, she enjoyed a romantic subplot in the film Fast Food Fast Women (2000), portrayed a retired gangster lady in Queenie in Love (2001), played a landlady in the horror opus Wolves of Wall Street (2002). She and Renée Taylor played "wealthy" sisters married to losers in the poorly-reviewed comedy Gold Diggers (2003), and appeared with Ms. Taylor again in the romantic comedy Driving Me Crazy: Proof of Concept (2012)

More recently seen on TV episodes of "CSI" and "Girls," Louise was once an acting technique teacher with Herbert Berghof's HB Studio. She eventually set up her own acting establishment, the Louise Lasser Acting Studio, on New York City's Upper East Side. In 2014, she directed the Off-Off-Broadway production of "Chinese Coffee." She never remarried after divorcing the Wood Man.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Family (1)

Spouse Woody Allen (2 February 1966 - January 1970)  (divorced)

Trivia (6)

She is the former sister-in-law of Letty Aronson.
Replaced Barbra Streisand in the Broadway show "I Can Get It for You Wholesale" in 1962.
Class of 1961 at Brandeis where she starred in a succession of college musicals with Margo Howard (born Margo Lederer) and Stuart Damon (of the soap General Hospital (1963)).
Louise Lasser hosted at the end of the first season of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) on July 24, 1976. Lasser was said to be going through personal problems at the time and was reportedly nearly incoherent throughout the broadcast.
She appeared in five films directed by her ex-husband Woody Allen: What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), Take the Money and Run (1969), Bananas (1971), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972) and Stardust Memories (1980). Only the first two were made during their marriage.
She is of Russian Jewish descent.

Personal Quotes (1)

Mary (Hartman) is me - I mean, she's who I would be if I had grown up in a small town and married my high school sweetheart and become a housewife instead of growing up in the big city and becoming an actress and marrying a genius.

See also

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